Drone Footage Shows 1.5m Great White Shark Circling Pro Surfer
Newly-released footage from a drone shows just how close Matt Wilkinson came to a massive great white shark.
The former pro surfer was out catching waves at Sharpes Beach in Ballina when the 1.5m shark looked as if it was making a bee line for him before it quickly turned away.
The far north New South Wales region has been a hot spot for shark attacks in recent months, but Wilkinson admits that he wasn't aware of the circling creature until the hovering UAV drone intervened.
Pro-surfer Mat Wilkinson had no idea he had narrowly avoided a shark attack while surfing near Ballina, on the NSW north coast, until he watched the vision captured by a NSW Surf Life Saving drone. Terrifying. pic.twitter.com/HtHD0hLOmb- 10 News First Sydney (@10NewsFirstSyd) October 7, 2020
"I heard a splash and a noise and looked around and couldn't see anything," Wilkinson said.
"Then the drone came down and told me that there was a dangerous shark in the area, return to the beach.
"I got to the shore feeling a bit weird and the lifeguards showed me the footage and I realised how close it came without knowing it was there. It looks like it's going for my leg and it's changed its mind."
#SHARK // @wsl surfer Matt Wilkinson has had a close encounter with a shark while surfing at #Ballina today.- Surf Life Saving NSW (@slsnsw) October 7, 2020
The arrival of a #drone overhead alerted Matt via a warning over the speaker, at the same time a 1.5m shark appeared.
Full story :newspaper2:️ https://t.co/rrJ8gkxZMl pic.twitter.com/KvWqjN1Teb
In mid-June, a 15-year-old boy tragically passed away following a shark attack near Kingscliff - just a 55-minute drive from where Wilkinson was surfing.
"I feel grateful and pretty weird at the same time but happy it decided not to go me," Wilkinson said.
"I called my wife because I didn't want her to see the footage before I saw it. She doesn't want me surfing for a couple of days now."
Featured Image Credit: Surf Life Saving Australia